Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Fernando Alfonso III, Melissa Macaya and Zamira Rahim, CNN

Updated 5:21 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020
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1:46 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020

New York City "on track" to begin reopening June 8, Gov. Cuomo says

From CNN's Brian Vitagliano

State of New York
State of New York

New York Gov. Cuomo said today that five New York regions are cleared to move to phase two of reopening based on the data the state has been seeing.

Reopening in New York City is more complicated, he said, but the city is on "track to meet all the metrics" and enter phase one of reopening on June 8.

Here are the metrics that the city needs to focus on, according to Cuomo:

  • Hospital capacity remaining below 70% and establishing a personal protective equipment stockpile
  • Testing and contact tracing being brought to scale
  • MTA preparing for reopening
  • Focusing on hotspots by ZIP code

1:20 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020

New Jersey governor to sign executive order allowing childcare services to reopen June 15

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is signing an executive order that will allow for the resumption of childcare services, organized sports practice and youth day camps over the next several weeks. 

Specifically, childcare services can resume on June 15. Organized sports practices can restart on June 22 – however the governor specified that activities will be limited to sports activities outdoors and there can be no contact activities for the time being. Youth day camps, including municipal summer recreation programs, can resume July 6. 

Horse racing will also resume in the state, with the first competitive races as early as next weekend, the governor announced.

Fans will not be allowed to watch in the stands. 

1:13 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020

New York state continues to report a decline in coronavirus-related deaths

State of New York
State of New York

New York state reported 67 new coronavirus-related deaths over the past 24 hours, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a news conference today.

Hospitalizations due to the virus are also down as are new Covid-19 cases, the governor said.

"The facts are good," Cuomo said.

1:05 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020

Connecticut governor issues new guidance on reopening of casinos and houses of worship

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

John Moore/Getty Images
John Moore/Getty Images

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced new guidance on social gatherings, casinos and houses of worship on Friday, as coronavirus metrics “continue in the right direction."

As numbers still come in, Lamont said “we had probably one of our largest drops in hospitalizations we’ve seen in months. Seventy-one fewer hospitalizations. We’re 75% off our peak now.” 

Going forward: Lamont said individuals may now have gatherings of up to 10 people inside their home and 25 people outside while maintaining social distancing. 

“Just give you a sense, we’re easing the restrictions as long as people follow the protocols," he said. 

Lamont said casinos can "really start opening tomorrow," but with some restrictions.

Here is some of the guidance:

  • No one from out of state will be allowed to stay at the hotels, now through phase one.
  • Masks will be required for everyone.
  • The governor said he recommended no drinking in casinos due to social distancing, “but I have not gotten a positive response on that,” he said.
  • Dining is going to be outside only, through late June.
  • There will also be an advisory given to everyone coming into the casino.
  • The governor encourages anyone with preexisting conditions to “stay safe, stay home.”

Houses of worship will also be allowed to start reopening.

Here are the guidelines the governor is suggesting:

  • No more than 25% capacity inside a mosque synagogue or church, or up to 100, whichever is less.
  • Outdoor worship can have up to 150 people if social distancing is maintained.
12:51 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020

There have been more than 1.7 million coronavirus cases in the US

There have been at least 1,725,656 cases of coronavirus in the US, and approximately 101,706 people have died from the virus, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Johns Hopkins reported 3,903 new cases and 90 deaths on Friday.

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.

11:24 a.m. ET, May 29, 2020

Churches in California and Illinois push Supreme Court to lift religious worship restrictions

From CNN's Katelyn Polantz and Ariane de Vogue

The United States Supreme Court
The United States Supreme Court Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Pentecostal and Baptist churches in California and Illinois were pushing for the US Supreme Court on Friday to stop their states' governors from limiting the number of people that can attend religious services as part of coronavirus social distancing measures, according to new filings sent to the court.

The churches are asking the court to stop the worship restrictions before this Sunday, the Christian holy day of Pentecost. The Supreme Court could act as soon as Friday. 

How the churches got here: In recent days, both states have lifted social distancing measures that relaxed limitations on churches. But the churches say they still need the court’s intervention.

California recently loosened its restrictions to allow up to 100 people to meet for religious services.

“California is still violating plaintiffs’ fundamental constitutional rights, and millions of Americans across the county are still having their constitutional rights trampled upon,” the South Bay United Pentecostal Church wrote to the Supreme Court on Friday.

In Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker lifted the state’s restrictions on religious worship on Thursday.

The state previously had prohibited more than 10 people from gathering for religious services. But Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church and Logos Baptist Ministries said they fear that if the state has another wave of Covid-19 cases this summer and fall, Pritzker could restrict their services again.

“What changed? The governor was summoned to the steps of this Court to give an account. But the governor’s sudden change has no permanency or force of law, and both his public statements and his new policy strongly signal an impending return to his old ways.

Absent a pronouncement from this Circuit Justice, or the Court, there can be no reasonable expectation that the Governor will not once again infringe Churches’ constitutional rights,” the churches in Illinois wrote.

The President's perspective: President Trump called on governors to reopen religious institutions for services last week after issuing guidance deeming places of worship "essential."

Trump even threatened to "override" governors if their states did not follow the new guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which released guidance for religious institutions on Friday.

Governors have gradually been reopening some businesses and other community gathering places in their states after months of lockdown and some plateaus of Covid-19 cases. The churches have claimed they shouldn’t be treated differently than retail business.

11:10 a.m. ET, May 29, 2020

Some indicators could trigger a possible need to curtail the restart in New York City, mayor says

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

NYC Media
NYC Media

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city has measurements in place that could trigger a possible need to dial back the restart and reinstate restrictions.

“From a city perspective, we stay below those thresholds we keep going, if we start inching up toward those thresholds, were gonna talk about it, were gonna tell people about it, were gonna warn people, we’re going to take actions in the immediate term to ensure that we can help contain the situation," de Blasio said.

The test and trace initiative will be a positive X factor, he added. 

“If our thresholds were exceeded the wrong way, that’s the situation where, unless there are other extenuating circumstances, we would have to take a step back to where we are right now," de Blasio said.

Here are the indicators the city will monitor:

  • The percent of people who test positive for Covid-19 under a 15% threshold.
  • The daily number of people admitted to hospitals for suspected Covid-19 under a 200 threshold.
  • The daily number of people in Health and Hospitals intensive care units under a 375 threshold.
11:07 a.m. ET, May 29, 2020

New York City mayor "confident" phase one of reopening will happen in June

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

NYC Media
NYC Media

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was pressed on whether he can narrow down the potential phase one start date as June commences next week. 

“We are confident that we will be able to go to phase one in the first two weeks of June. This is going to be based, of course, on the tangible indicators and thresholds from the state and the city. So that’s what will lead the decision. We have to have that factual evidence," he said at a news conference on Friday.

“Im gonna only say it that way, I’m confident we'll be getting to phase one in the first two weeks of June. Im not gonna fine tune it any more than that because of all these conversations going on to determine the exact right date to start," he added.
11:06 a.m. ET, May 29, 2020

Percent of positive coronavirus tests in New York City continues to fall, mayor says

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

NYC Media
NYC Media

The percentage of New York City residents who have tested positive for coronavirus is at 5%, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.

“Every day we’ve seen progress in recent weeks, today the lowest we’ve ever seen," de Blasio said. “Congratulations everyone, this is putting us well on the way to our goal of opening in the first half of June. Well done NYC.”

The mayor assessed the daily indicators by threshold and would like to see this number under a 15% threshold.

The daily number of people admitted to hospitals for suspected Covid-19, which the mayor would like to see under a 200 threshold, is at 61.

“A very good number,” de Blasio said.